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Elachee to teach classes about nature for next 11 weeks
Center to host Georgia Master Naturalist Program series in Gainesville

Georgia Master Naturalist Program Series

* 1-5:30 p.m. April 7: Spring bird migration

* 1-5:30 p.m. April 14: Spring ephemeral wildflowers

* 1-5:30 p.m. April 21: Stream ecology

* 1-5:30 p.m. April 28: Bug school

* 6-9 p.m. May 5: Lake Lanier and Upper Chattahoochee Watershed

* Dusk to 10 p.m. May 12: Stars over Elachee

* 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 14: Mountain ecology field trip

* 1-5:30 p.m. May 19: Trees of Georgia

* 1-5:30 p.m. May 26: Butterflies of Georgia

* 1-5:30 p.m. June 2: Reptiles of Georgia

What do an astronomer, a naturalist, a botanist, a beekeeper and Master Gardener have in common? All have volunteered to participate in the spring semester of the Georgia Master Naturalist Program series at Elachee Nature Science Center in Gainesville.

In the 11-session course, adults gain the skills and knowledge to become more engaged environmental stewards through discovery and exploration of local habitats and ecosystems, according to a news release from Elachee. The course, which started Thursday, is a staple in Elachee’s Life Long Learning annual public programming lineup.

Each course includes a presentation and field study. It lasts a minimum of four hours almost every Thursday until June 2. The exception is the Saturday, May 14, class.

Each session costs $25, thanks to annual corporate sponsor Murrayville Veterinary Clinic. For all 11 courses, the cost is $275 per person. Elachee members receive a $25 program discount.

Pre-registration is required. To enroll, visit or call 770-535-1976.

The highly-anticipated course has been likened to an intersection of the area’s cultural and natural history, the news release said.

Elachee’s Georgia Master Naturalist Program is ideal for newcomers and long-standing residents, introducing each to the biological diversity and natural processes at work in North Georgia’s landscape.

Regional experts will lead the weekly sessions, sharing their passion for nature while touching on topics captivating natural history lovers. Developed by The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and the UGA Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, the nature center has tailored the course to the local environment, ranging from bird migration and butterflies to native trees and the stars over Elachee.

Teaching the course will be experts in their respective fields of study. Dr. Leslie Edwards, professor emeritus of Georgia State University and coauthor of The Natural Communities of Georgia, launched the spring session with a class on an introduction to ecology and natural communities of Piedmont.

Other program series instructors are: Jennifer Ceska of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Dr. Evan Lampert of the University of North Georgia, Dr. Nancy Hinkle of the University of Georgia, Garry McGlaun of Northeast Georgia Beekeepers Association, Michael West of the city of Gainesville, Botanist Steven Bowling, the University of Georgia Arboretum’s Bill Lott, Georgia Master Naturalists Rosalie Jenson and Mike Saunders, Department of Natural Resources State Herpetologist John Jensen and Elachee staff specialists Senior Astronomer Robert Webb, Natural Resources Manager Lee Irminger and Peter Gordon.

The sessions have proved beneficial to area residents.

“A retired petroleum geologist and newcomer to Georgia pulled me aside after graduating from the Georgia Master Naturalist course,” Elachee Education Director Peter Gordon said in the news release. “He told me how profoundly impacted he was by the class, its array of tremendous and informed presenters and the knowledge each imparted about his new home. He felt that he was a different person because of what he had experienced and had a new way of looking at the world around him.”

For more information on the program, visit

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